To Prune or Not to Prune?

gillnurseryTimely Tips9 Comments

I spent much of last Saturday cleaning up the front yard, making plans to hang Christmas lights in another week or two. I had someone stop and ask me about my cutting back the Purple Showers ruellia along the sidewalk. It has taken over about half the sidewalk. I explained that this plant can take shearing back most any time of year and that by cutting it now, it has time to regrow some and be nice for the holidays. Most all plants can be trimmed to shape right now. Roses and most winter hardy shrubs can take a harder prune but no more than a ¼ of the plants’ size. Plants that are sensitive to cold, like ixora, hibiscus and bougainvilleas should not be pruned hard. They need their foliage to help stay warm. Plus new growth that appears after trimming is more sensitive to cold damage.  If you’re not sure to prune or not to prune, check with us…we are always here to help!


9 Comments on “To Prune or Not to Prune?”

    1. Liz, it’s not ideal, for the reason stated above, new growth stimulated by pruning is more sensitive to freeze damage. But if it is flopping out of the space you have allowed it, I would prune it anyway, and know if it is cold damaged, it will still regrow fine in spring.

  1. Should I prune my Bird of Paradise.
    I have a lot of new growth coming out at the bottom while the top leaves are shriveled and brown on the edges. I have two Birds, one blooms the other one does not. Maybe not enough water or I pruned it last year too much?

    1. Old brown leaves and blooms should be removed regularly, or at the least in January before new growth begins. You could try a little RoseGlo fertilizer to get a few more blooms. But when it works, Don’t Overdo It! I learned that the hard way…

    1. Hi Emily – you can prune it a little to shape, but not severe. If you prune too much in the summer, the ground around the plant will get too hot. You can prune more in the fall, then prune heavily in early spring.

    2. February 1st and September 15 are best times to prune ruellia, but it will tolerate a little pruning anytime.

  2. I pruned my plants last spring rather than the fall. The crape myrtle didn’t have many flowers this year. I won’t be pruning this year. However, the Esperanza bushes were pruned then too because that is when I have always done it, but it had a hard time recovering this year. Would it be better to prune it in the fall like when I should be pruning the Crape Myrtle?

    1. I recommend waiting till February to prune the Esperanza and other plants once the winter has done its damage. Pruning in the fall could encourage new growth at a time when the plants should be going dormant for the winter.
      This was an exceptionally hot summer with no rainfall which put a lot of stress on plants and many did not perform as well as other years.

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